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Cork top Galway; Dublin prevail

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Mark Jones

The National Football League swung back into action last weekend and Cork put themselves in line for a place in the playoffs with a 1-9 to 0-9 victory over Galway at Pairc Ui Rinn. This third success from four games leaves Cork level with Dublin at the top of Div. 1A.

If Joe Kavanagh’s penalty late in the game proved to be the decisive score, it was the introduction of Steven O’Brien with 10 minutes left that gave Cork renewed impetus. On the injured list in recent times, O’Brien was pitched in at full-forward and the change worked a treat.

Charging in on the All-Ireland champions’ goal, O’Brien was bundled to the ground by Gary Fahy and referee Brian White had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. While Kavanagh’s score secured the points for Cork, O’Brien dislocated his shoulder in the clash with Fahy and now faces a further six weeks on the sidelines.

Cork’s only worry after this valuable win will be their attack, which struggled against an experimental Galway side. "To beat the All-Ireland champions who are taking the League seriously is still an achievement," said selector Conor Counihan.

Dublin 1-19, Leitrim 0-6

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Dublin kept their impressive run going as Leitrim felt the brunt of a slick team performance at Parnell Park. It was all too easy after Leitrim had Seamus Quinn sent off, and the Connacht team, with just one point from four outings, seemed doomed to relegation from the top flight.

Even though manager Tommy Carr continues to mix and match his players in a search for the right combination, it was the old guard of Paul Curran, Brian Stynes and Dessie Farrell who masterminded this latest win.

Stynes bagged six points from play, while Farrell’s goal in the 40th minute knocked the stuffing out of the Leitrim defense and right from the start, the energetic Curran proved to be the controlling influence at center back.

Armagh 1-9, Offaly 1-6

There seems no end to Offaly’s disappointing winter campaign. The sense of occasion created by the first-ever League game to be played at Crossmaglen did nothing for the holders, who are still waiting for a first win of the season.

"That was the worst I’ve ever seen them play," spat manager Tommy Lyons. "They were an absolute disgrace to their county. This had nothing to do with hard winter training, it’s to do with hunger, with wanting to play."

Offaly had got off to a lively start and following Colm Quinn’s goal they lead by 1-1 to no score by the 20th minute. But it was all downhill from there as Armagh quickly grasped the initiative with a Paul Dynes goal.

Offaly collapsed and if Diarmuid Marsden and James Byrne hadn’t squandered clear-cut goal chances and if Cathal O’Rourke hadn’t missed a penalty, this no-contest could rapidly have turned into a massacre.

Donegal 0-12, Tyrone 0-11

Unlucky Donegal slipped into relegation trouble after this all-Ulster clash at Omagh. A third Donegal defeat looked a distant prospect when a fast start put them five points clear in the opening minutes. However, with Peter Canavan leading the way, Tyrone got into their stride.

Tony Boyle came close to salvaging something for Donegal, but his goalbound shot was brilliantly saved by Finbarr McConnell and late points by Adrian Cush and Canavan did the trick for Tyrone.

Div. 1B results

Meath and Kildare continue to fight it out at the top of the table on seven points. With both counties understrength, Meath were fortunate to scrape a 0-6 each draw with Down at Newcastle, where a late Ray Magee score earned his side a share of the points.

In fact, a moment earlier, Meath reckoned they had stolen the game when Graham Geraghty put Magee through for a goal which was disallowed for an infringement in the square. But Magee then had the final say when he slotted the equalizer.

Kildare survived a late surge by Laois at O’Moore Park to run out narrow winners by 0-10 to 0-9. A fiercely committed encounter saw Laois wing forward Gordon Lawlor sent off early in the second half for a late tackle, but the 14 men finished the stronger.

With Padraig Graven and Karl O’Dwyer in good form, Kildare had worked themselves four points clear. However, it took some top-class defense from goalkeeper Christy Byrne, Glen Ryan and John Finn to contain Laois in the closing stages as Colm Parkinson and Ian Fitzgerald (2) picked off three quick scores in succession.

Monaghan are still not out of contention for the quarterfinals after their 1-9 apiece draw with Derry at Celtic Park left them in third place behind Meath and Kildare. Damien Freeman kicked the equalizing point in injury time, which leaves Derry in trouble on two points from their four games.

The mid-table pair of Mayo and Clare played out another draw at Ballina, where a Maurice Sheridan point left it 0-7 each at the final whistle.

Other results

Wicklow maintained the only 100 percent record in the Div. 2B competition when they got the better of Antrim by 1-11 to 0-9 at Aughrim.

With five wins, they are two points clear of Westmeath, who hammered London by 2-14 to 0-4 at Ruislip.

With Kerry having the weekend off, Roscommon moved up to eight points with a convincing 2-13 to 0-6 drubbing of Louth, while Limerick were comfortable 2-12 to 0-2 winners against bottom county Kilkenny.

Wexford held on to top spot in Div. 2B despite despite losing by 1-12 to 1-7 to Sligo at Gorey. Carlow took the opportunity to join Wexford on six points when they beat Fermanagh by 2-11 to 0-10 and Longford added to Cavan’s recent difficulties with a 2-10 to 1-11 victory at Breffni Park.

Tipperary, meanwhile, came out best in the clash of the bottom two when they beat Waterford by 4-10 to 1-7.

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